ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure men's soccer coach Mel Mahler announced a balanced 2013 schedule Tuesday, highlighted by home matches against defending Atlantic 10 champion Saint Louis and league runner-up VCU.
The season for the Brown and White kicks off with a battle against Big 4 rival University at Buffalo when the Bulls come to town for an Aug. 30 matchup. Last year, UB defeated SBU, 2-1.
After their home opener, the Bonnies go out on a five-game road trip, which starts at Little Three rival Niagara (Sept. 1), a squad which won the MAAC title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year. In 2012, St. Bona defeated the Purple Eagles, 3-2.
Bonaventure's road trip continues into Pittsburgh, Pa., where it will take part in the Duquesne Invitational. During the weekend tournament, Bona will face Incarnate Word on Sept. 6 and Howard on Sept. 8. Located in Texas and a new member of the Southland Conference, the 2013-14 season will be the first year in Division I for Incarnate Word; last year in Division II it was the South Central Regional Champions in the Division II Tournament. Howard began the 2012 campaign on an 11-game losing streak before concluding the docket at 3-15-1, with all three wins coming against non-Division I opponents.
St. Bona remains on the road the following weekend as it heads to Delaware and New Jersey, respectively, to face the University of Delaware on Sept. 13 and NJIT on Sept. 15. The Delaware Blue Hens posted a record of 4-11-4 last season while the NJIT Highlanders went 10-9, including a 6-3 showing at home.
Three weeks to the day after its home opener, SBU comes back to McGraw-Jennings Field for a two-game weekend set when it takes on UMass-Lowell (Sept. 20) and Rider (Sept. 22). The Riverhawks of UMass-Lowell – beginning their first D-I season – established an impressive 15-6-1 record last year and played in the Division II Tournament. Five days later (Sept. 27), the Bonnies head east to take on Binghamton, a team which went 6-10-1 in 2012 and lost in the quarterfinals of the America East Championship.
On Sept. 29, Bona's welcomes its oldest rival to the McGraw-Jennings pitch as the Canisius Golden Griffins come to town for a Sunday match. St. Bonaventure concludes its non-conference slate on Sunday, Oct. 6, when it battles Saint Francis (Pa.). The Bonnies defeated the Red Flash in overtime for their first win last year, 1-0.
A weekend trip to Philadelphia commences the A-10 season and will feature matchups with Saint Joseph's (Oct. 11) and La Salle (Oct. 13) before heading out to Pittsburgh to face Duquesne (Oct. 19).
After nearly a week of rest, Bonaventure returns home for one of its biggest games of the season when it faces off with defending conference champion Saint Louis on Friday, Oct. 25. A quick turnaround will see SBU ending its road schedule with a trip to Dayton two days later on Oct. 27. The Flyers went 11-5-2 last year and dropped an A-10 Championship Quarterfinal contest to Xavier.
Bona's wraps up its regular season with a trio of home games against Massachusetts on Nov. 3, VCU on Nov. 8 and league newcomer George Mason on Nov. 10. The Sunday matinee against the Patriots will also serve as Senior Day for the program.
SBU will look to return to the Atlantic 10 Championship after missing it the past two years. The tournament will be held Nov. 14-17 on Dayton's campus.